Around 300 Adventist ministers and spouses from the four regions in Central Philippines gathered in Iloilo City for the highly anticipated Ministers and Spouses’ Convention. This four-day event served as a remarkable platform for spiritual renewal, fellowship, and training. Under the theme "Back to the Altar: Total Ministers and Spouses' Involvement," the convention emphasized the significance of cultivating a renewed spiritual connection and fostering a deeper intimacy with God as the foundation for effective ministry.
As ministers face the challenges of balancing their ministerial duties with personal and family lives, Pastor Fernando Narciso, ministerial secretary of the Central Philippine Union Conference (CPUC) and the main event organizer, underscored the significance of returning to the altar. He urged all Adventist leaders to recommit themselves to God through worship, prayer, and the study of His Word. "May we all build a concrete and sincere relationship with the Lord as we rebuild the broken altars in our lives today," he fervently prayed.
Throughout the convention, a range of compelling topics was covered, including missiological issues among ministers and ministerial spouses, the value and relevance of the sanctuary, the impact of ecumenism on the Adventist mission, and many others. Attendees had the privilege of hearing from seasoned leaders, engaging in meaningful discussions, and participating in devotional and plenary sessions.
The convention also placed a spotlight on the important role of ministers' spouses in supporting their husbands' ministries. Melodie Mae Inapan, CPUC Ministerial Spouses Association coordinator, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to gather and grow together spiritually. She stressed the immense success ministers and their spouses could achieve when they worked together as a team, seeking God's guidance in their ministry endeavors.
One of the central aspects of the convention was fostering connections and building meaningful relationships among ministers and their spouses. Pastor Rudi Hartono Situmorang, Ministerial Association secretary of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD), highlighted how the program facilitated open communication, mutual learning, and inspiration as pastors shared their diverse ministry experiences. He encouraged all attendees to use the valuable lessons learned to reignite passion and elevate their spirits, ultimately becoming a blessing to others.
Participants left the convention empowered, equipped, and motivated to embrace personal growth and impactful service in their divine calling. Meden Nombre, a participant from Negros Oriental-Siquijor, shared her gratitude, saying, "I praise the Lord for choosing me as a minister's wife. The convention, centered around the theme 'Back to the Altar,' has been an enlightening experience. It reminded me of the importance of returning to sanctuary worship, invigorating family worship, and strengthening our relationship with Christ. I am excited to share these insights through seminars in our district to propel our ministry forward."
Reflecting on the convention, Jenboy Luston, a participant from Negros Occidental, accentuated his profound realization that a pastor's effectiveness and efficiency depend not only on the minister but also on the pivotal role of the minister's spouse. He emphasized the significance of personal spiritual growth and practicing what one preaches, aspiring to prioritize personal prayer and devotion in his daily life.
Moreover, Pastor Eliezer 'Joer' T. Barlizo Jr., CPUC president, expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the organizers for spearheading such a momentous event for pastors and their spouses. He extended his gratitude to all the resource speakers who contributed their knowledge and insights and to the West Visayan Conference (WVC) leadership for being the host of the convention. He also thanked all the delegates for displaying unwavering dedication and positivity despite challenges such as venue transfers caused by floods and rain.
"As we return to our conferences and missions, let us refocus on the essence of evangelism and fully embrace the 'Back to the Altar' program of the Seventh-day Adventist Church," Pastor Barlizo encouraged the attendees.
The Central Philippine Ministers and Spouses' Convention 2023 marked a significant milestone in the journey of Adventist ministers and their spouses, igniting a flame in their calling that will continue to shine, empowering them to serve with excellence, love, and unwavering devotion to God that would ripple out, fostering growth and transformation among Adventist congregations in Central Philippines.